The concept of beauty is most often associated with two completely different things: art and nature. While the former is entirely dependent on human creativity and intellect, the latter is completely beyond the reach of man’s control and comprehension. This conflict was philosophically established as an unbreakable aporia in antiquity through Plato’s notion of simulacrum and Aristotelian principle of mimesis. While the older philosopher believed that imitation of previously existing forms led to the creation of worthless illusions, his disciple in the imitation of nature recognized the way to connect the perfection of nature with catharsis as an expression of human sensibility. Aristotle believed that in this way it was possible to go beyond mere emulation and create an authentic value. Interestingly, neither of the philosophers believed that beauty resided in the very thing, but either in a pure idea or in the freeing of emotions. The difference, however, is in the way we come to beauty – through a purely thought process or with the help of artifact as a kind of material prosthesis of a mind. Many centuries later, in Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment, the attempt has been made to reconcile this antique aporia of art and beauty in such a way that nature is proclaimed the unattainable aesthetic ideal, whereas at the same time the purpose of art is emancipated from nature so that beauty can now arise in the free creation of the pure mind. However, the problem of beauty has thus not been solved, only a new conflict has emerged – one between beauty and ugliness – which, thanks to Kant, has been established as a central problem in modern and contemporary art.
It is paradoxical that the problem of beauty was banished from theoretical and critical discourse, although it makes the central conflict throughout the history of modernity. Among many examples, works in traditional media of painting, such as those of Francis Bacon, then installations and objects by Damien Hirst or the Cremaster cycle by Matthew Barney, confirm that the problem of beauty/ugliness has not disappeared from contemporary artistic reflection.
The third edition of the International Student Biennial, organized by the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek, wants to ask how art today and the new generation of artists look at the notion of beauty; how much beauty is still possible or necessary in art; how we should evaluate it and how to look for it. We would like to see student proposals that in the broadest possible way address the problem of the beautiful and its relationship to the ugly; we are interested to find new ways of creating beauty both in traditional and new media; we ask the question whether we know what beauty is, what does it depend on and how it is created; we’d like to consider the relationship between beauty, ugliness, capitalism, globalization, and contemporary civilization after the pictorial turn.
Your artworks can be made in any medium and technique, they can deal with or be inspired by the following themes, but of course are not limited to:
– expressing beauty in the contemporary work of art
– surviving beauty in the capitalist commodity system
– visualization of beauty and ugliness between art and popular culture
– creating and destroying the beauty on social networks
– probing the beauty as a political and ideological categories
– manipulation with beauty and seduction with ugliness
– beauty as an idea in relation to beauty as information
– the use of media in creation of beauty (sensation, tactile, sound, image)
– the problem of perception of beauty: the subject of creation and the object of the gaze
– ugliness as a critique of beauty
Applications should be sent to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org, which you can find on this website as well as any other information on the International Student Biennial.
Students need to send quality visual material (300 dpi resolution) together with a brief description of the work, and a student status certificate of any level. Expenses and organization of transportation are borne by the students themselves, but the organizer may help according to available resources.
The exhibition is planned for the end of 2019 in Osijek, when three official prizes will be awarded. The awarded works are planned to be presented at a separate exhibition in 2020.
The deadline for submitting the application is October 5th 2019